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With a near-global shift to working from home, it’s become essential for businesses large and small to find new ways to communicate.
Video conferencing tools are perfect for this, because they allow people from around the world to talk as if they were all in the same room.
Choosing which video conferencing tool is best for your business can be tricky, especially if you’re a growing business, or deal with international clients.
This guide will help you decide on the best free video conferencing tool for your business.
- Google Meets
- Microsoft Teams
What are the best free video conferencing tools?
Before you decide on a specific service, have a look at the pros and cons. This can help you choose which service fits your business’ needs the most.
The video conferencing tools below are currently some of the best available for your business. They are each suited to different businesses, so don’t be afraid to change which one you use as your business grows.
Google Meets is a fantastic tool, and one that almost every device can use with ease. Since there’s no program to download, you don’t need to worry about compatibility issues.
Google Meets works using your internet browser, which means you’ll also be able to log on from anywhere. You can use your PC at home or join a conference from your phone or laptop if you’re out travelling
The biggest selling point of Google Meets is its convenience. Meetings with clients are effortless to set up, as they only need to click your invite link to join the call.
Google Meet can also sync with Google Calendar, which is a massive help if you struggle with staying organised. You can create an event on the Calendar, add Google Meet conferencing, and invite your guests.
They’ll stay invited even if the event moves, and can even join the meeting from their calendar.
- Incredibly convenient.
- No install needed (unless on mobile).
- Allows presentation and screen sharing.
- Can add your own background.
- Up to 100 people per meeting.
- Meetings with three or more people are limited to one hour.
Zoom is one of the most well-known pieces of video conferencing software currently available.
Rising to popularity amid the pandemic, Zoom is one of the most stable video conferencing software available. In other words, it’s less likely to drop out during a call.
When you’re invited to a meeting, you have a few options for joining the call. You can attend via a web browser (like Safari or Google Chrome), or you can download the app.
The downloaded app does provide a more optimised experience than joining online. You can download the app on any device you want to use, as it’s available on mobile (android and iOS) as well as computer (Windows, Mac, and Linux).
As the host of a meeting, you can use the ‘Waiting Room’ feature. This automatically filters new attendees into a separate room, where you can let them into the call.
The waiting room is an extremely useful feature if you need a few extra moments to set up, or if you want to keep your meeting private.
- Can have video conferences of up to 100 attendees.
- No limits to the number of calls.
- Only the host needs an account.
- Can record your calls and store them locally.
- Meetings of three or more people are limited to 40 minute sessions.
- If meetings aren’t set to private, random users can join.
If you have a new version of Windows, you might already have Microsoft Teams installed on your computer. It’s Microsoft’s answer to remote working communication, and comes with 5GB of cloud storage for file sharing.
Where Google Meets and Zoom focus almost exclusively on video conferencing, Teams offers an instant messaging service too. Not every conversation needs to be spoken or emailed.
Teams offers a good middle ground and lets workers talk to each other without taking up too much time. Trying to schedule a meeting is far more time-consuming than sending a few messages.
To sign up for a free account, you must have a Microsoft account or ID (an Outlook email address will work). The free account misses out on certain features, like integration with other apps and programs.
- Unlimited group meetings.
- Up to 100 attendees.
- Provides chat functions for your team.
- Cloud storage makes shared files accessible anywhere.
- Can be difficult to get to grips with.
Slack is a great tool for internal communication. You can create your own channels to discuss specific topics or clients, or directly message other members of your workspace.
If your business primarily focuses on internal meetings and discussions, then Slack is a great choice. Individuals can set their own statuses, so you know exactly what they’re up to or if they’re currently available.
Unfortunately, the free version only supports one-to-one voice or video calls. You can still have as many people as you need in your workspace, but most of your discussion will have to be via messages instead of calls.
The free version of Slack might not be suitable for every business, but if you only need to send sporadic text messages, then it could work for you.
- Perfect for informal, internal communication.
- Can easily share documents or links with other workers.
- Integrates easily with third-party apps (like Google Calendar).
- One-to-one calls only, unless you upgrade.
- Calls are limited to people in your workspace.
- Free version can’t access many useful features.
Managing future upgrades
While all of these video conferencing software are available for free, their functionality dramatically improves with a paid version. As your business grows, you may decide you need this extra functionality.
If you operate your business from home, you may be interested in the best apps for small business owners to help things run smoothly.
On the other hand, working from home can be a challenge. Here are some motivation tips for working from home.
To manage increased spending, why not try a new accounting tool? The Countingup app combines accounting software with a business current account so you can manage your finances from your phone.
Download the app for free.